Green Carrot Club

you don't win friends with salad

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Spicy Spinach Cranberry Almond

A salad doesn’t have to have tons of ingredients to be good.  Sometimes the simplest salads are the best.  And are the easiest to prepare.  This one can be made without even getting out the knife and cutting board.  It follows the salad standard:  green, fruit, and nut.

The light dressing with paprika makes this one stand out.  Also, I should note here, this is one of several different types of salad dressing bottles we’ve tried out.  It’s important to find one that doesn’t leak and is easy to clean.  In my opinion, the ideal bottle would be one in which you can get your hand in the top of the bottle with a sponge and the lid doesn’t have too many crevices to clean in between.  Most dressings have oil and this is very hard to get cleaned out completely.  It also needs a large enough spout to allow larger items (like garlic or shallot) to pour through.  We’ve bought 4 different bottles, unfortunately none of them are perfect.

Since this salad is made primarily of spinach without anything more dense, we supplemented lunch with some tomato soup.  It was nice to have something warm on this cold day.

This recipe was very loosely adapted from


makes 6 servings

  • 2 large containers of spinach
  • 1 package dried cranberries
  • 1 package blanched almonds, slivered


  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/4 red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cider vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

Whisk together dressing ingredients.  Adjust with sugar if it is too sour.  Toss spinach, cranberries and almonds together with dressing right before serving.

Som Tum

This recipe is from my mother-in-law who is Thai and also a great cook and cooking instructor.  This is a traditional Thai salad made with green papaya.  It has simple ingredients, but involves a lot of grating.  My husband’s parents insisted on grating everything by hand, but using a food processor would have cut down significantly on the preparation time.

The key ingredient is the green papaya.  These can most likely only be found in an Asian grocery store.  And you must make sure it is dark green, which means it is unripe.  If it is too ripe you won’t be able to grate it.  The inside will be a light green color (unlike the ripe papayas that are yellow).  Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of the uncut fruit.  We found a really big papaya, probably the size of a large butternut squash, so we only needed 1 for this recipe.  They come in smaller mango-sized fruits, so you might need to use more if you can only find these.  To store the grated papaya if not serving immediately, submerge the gratings in cold water and store in the refrigerator.  These will last this way for 3-4 days.  Drain well before using.

The carrot was shredded with a potato peeler, but a grater would have worked well too.  The green beans were cut into small pieces using an angled cut, just to look pretty.  Tomatoes were cut in half lengthwise using a serrated tomato knife, which might seem like an extraneous kitchen tool, but it really makes slicing tomatoes easy.

Depending on your tolerance for heat, use a mortar & pestle to crush together the 1-4 Thai chilies and garlic.  De-seed the chilies to make it less spicy.  Also, depending on your tolerance for fish sauce, add more or less of this.


makes 6 servings

  • 6 cups green papaya, peeled & grated (1 large or 2-3 small)
  • 1 carrot, peeled & grated
  • 2 cups green beans, chopped small
  • 1 package cherry/grape tomatoes, sliced in half lengthwise
  • unsalted peanuts


  • 1/2 cup lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime
  • 1-4 thai chilies
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 t. sugar
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • dash of fish sauce

Grate and chop all ingredients as noted and toss together in large salad bowl.  Zest 1 lime and then juice enough limes for ~1/2 cup of juice.  Add zest to the juice along with sugar, salt, fish sauce, and mortar & pestled chilies and garlic.  Mix well.  Adjust with sugar, salt, and fish sauce depending on desired taste.

Right before serving, add dressing to ingredients and mix together well.

Jicama Herb Salad in Lemon Vinaigrette

This is my very first post.  Once I work out the kinks, I should be posting at least weekly.

I found this salad on the back of Trader Joe’s Herb Salad bag.  I usually try to find easy to prepare salads and didn’t think this one sounded too bad.  It has the typical salad ingredients (fruit, nut, cheese, and green), but it took a lot longer to prepare than I thought.  It involves zesting, squeezing, peeling, julienning, supreming…..  I also made the unwise choice of hand shelling all the pistachios.  The salad was delicious, so fortunately all the prep work was worth it.

I have never prepared jicama before and it is kind of tricky to get peeled.  I had the best luck just grabbing an edge and peeling it off by hand after slicing off the top and bottom.

The potato peeler sort of worked, but jicama are oddly shaped and have a lot of grooves the peeler cannot reach.  Using the end of the peeler to scrape pieces of peel off worked too.  After julienning the jicama, if not eating the salad right away, store small aliquots in plastic wrap and then in an airtight container.

The original recipe had goat cheese added, but I’m not a huge fan of this so I left it out.  I was going to add shaved parmesan, but in the end I did not have the time to do this, and it didn’t really need it anyway.  The dressing will be a bright yellow/orange color from the zest.


makes 6 servings

  • 2 5 oz. bags of Trader Joe’s Organic Herb Salad Mix
  • 3 large oranges, supremed
  • 4 medium jicama, peeled and cut julienne style
  • 2 cups shelled, roasted pistachio nuts


  • 6 T fresh lemon juice
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 2 large shallots, finely minced
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, toss herb salad, orange segments, jicama, and pistachios.  In a separate bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients.  Lightly toss dressing with salad.